A 32-year-old woman in the city of Qazvin stands accused of murdering five woman and police are saying that she took her inspiration from the crime novels of Agatha Christie.
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The 32-year-old suspect, named only as Mahin, stands accused of killing at least six people, including five women, according to officials in the city of Qazvin, about 100 miles north-west of Tehran.
"Mahin in her confessions has said that she has been taking patterns from Agatha Christie books and has been trying not to leave any trace of herself," Mohammad Baqer Olfat, the Qazvin prosecutor, told Iranian journalists.
Mahin, who it is claimed also admitted the earlier murders of her former landlord and an aunt, is said to have carefully chosen her victims, targeting elderly and middle-aged women and offering them lifts home after picking them up at shrines in the city where they had been praying.
Christie's novels, some of which depict unsolved murders, are highly popular among Iranians. The writer, who died in 1976, visited Iran several times and used it as the setting for one of her stories, The House at Shiraz.
Qazvin's police chief, Ali Akbar Hedayati, said Mahin was afflicted by a mental disorder triggered by having been deprived of her mother's love. She would draw her chosen victims into conversation by telling them they reminded her of her mother, the police chief said.
-- Luke Allnutt